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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Hfl 4I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 4’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 746.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn
345

Ǫttuð ôrum skreyttum
austr í salt með flaustum;
bôruð lind af landi,
landvǫrðr, á skip randir.
Neyttuð segls, ok sættuð
sundvarpaði stundum;
sleit mjǫk róin mikla
mǫrg ôr und þér bôru.

Ǫttuð skreyttum ôrum með flaustum austr í salt; {landvǫrðr}, bôruð lind af landi, randir á skip. Neyttuð segls, ok sættuð stundum {sundvarpaði}; mǫrg mjǫk róin ôr sleit mikla bôru und þér.

You urged decorated oars alongside the ships east on the salt sea; {land-guardian} [RULER], you carried the linden-shield from the land, shields onto the ships. You made use of the sail and sometimes deployed {the sea-thrower} [OAR]; many a much-rowed oar cut the great swell beneath you.

Mss: (220v) (Hkr); Holm2(5v), J1ˣ(137r), J2ˣ(119r), 325VI(5rb), 73aˣ(16r), 78aˣ(14v-15r), 68(5r), 61(79ra), 325V(6vb-7ra), Bb(125rb), Flat(79vb), Tóm(95r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] Ǫttuð: ýttum J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    ôrum skreyttum: órum knǫrrum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, skreyttum ôrum 68    [2] salt: haf Flat;    flaustum: ‘fleystum’ Bb, ‘flaustrum’ Tóm    [3] lind: land J1ˣ, J2ˣ, lendr 73aˣ, 78aˣ, lund 68    [4] ‑vǫrðr: ‑vǫrð J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘her’ 68    [5] segls: segli 78aˣ;    sættuð: settuð Kˣ, Holm2, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, sættusk 68, sóttuð Bb    [6] ‑varpaði: ‘‑uarpaðar’ Tóm;    stundum: so all others, corrected from ‘stundo’ in a later hand Kˣ    [7] mjǫk: ‘myk’ J1ˣ;    róin: ‘rō’ J1ˣ, roðin Flat, ‘rum’ or ‘ruin’ Tóm    [8] þér: þær Tóm;    bôru: so Holm2, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘baror’ Kˣ, bára J1ˣ, J2ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 291, Skj BI, 268, Skald I, 138, NN §§725, 1853C; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 6-7, IV, 105-6, ÍF 27, 6 (ÓHHkr ch. 5); ÓH 1941, I, 36 (ch. 21), Flat 1860-8, II, 15.

Context: In the autumn, Óláfr ravages Sweden in revenge for the death of his father at Swedish hands. The stanza is quoted as evidence that he travelled east from Denmark.

Notes: [1-2]: The general sense of the lines is clear, but subtly different construals of the syntax are possible. (a) Ǫttuð is 2nd pers. pl. pret. indic. of etja ‘goad, urge’ or possibly here ‘try, strain’. It is taken here, as normally, to be transitive, with a dat. object skreyttum ôrum ‘decorated oars’. Með (flaustum) is taken as ‘alongside (the ships)’ (cf. LP: með 8). (b) Kock (NN §725) takes ǫttuð as intransitive, with the sense ‘went’, comparing Þór Lv 1/1-2 etjum á sæ kaldan ‘we drive forward on the cold sea’. He takes ôrum skreyttum ... með flaustum to mean ‘with decorated oars [and] with ships’. (c) ÍF 27 follows Kock, but takes skreyttum to qualify flaustum, hence ‘with ships ornamented with oars’; p. p. skreyttr ‘decorated’ frequently governs the dat. (see examples in LP: skreyta). (d) Skj B suggests Ǫttuð skreyttum flaustum með ôrum austr í salt ‘you drove the ornamented ships with oars east on the salt sea/Baltic’. This gives excellent sense, but it is implausible that með ‘with’ and skreyttum are to be taken not with the adjacent words but with those at one line’s remove (cf. Kock, NN §725). — [2] austr í salt ‘east on the salt sea’: Doubtless a reference to the Baltic (Eystrasalt ‘the Eastern Salt’): cf. Sigv Austv 21/8 (and Introduction to Austv) and Arn Hryn 4/2II. — [3] lind ‘the linden-shield’: Lind f. ‘linden-tree, lime-tree’ can refer to spear-shafts or shields made of linden-wood, hence spears and shields in general (LP: 1. lind); here it appears to be in apposition with randir ‘shields’. Finnur Jónsson in Skj B adopts the reading land from J1ˣ, J2ˣ, producing an adv. phrase land af landi ‘from land to land’ which he takes to modify the clause in ll. 1-2. The proposal is not persuasive, though, either in terms of ms. authority or syntax. — [4] skip ‘the ships’: The word could be sg. or pl. — [5] sættuð ‘deployed’: Following Skj B, the verb is taken in this edn as sættuð (from sæta), here with the sense ‘used, took advantage of, deployed’ (Skj B benyttede). This takes a dat. object, here sundvarpaði ‘sea-thrower [OAR]’. Meissner 103 suggests instead the sense ‘you gave the oar peace’ (by using the sail). Skald and ÍF 27 retain settuð (from setja), as indicated by the ms. readings, with the exception of Bb and possibly of 68, but in the absence of an acc. object for the verb, this entails assuming that segl ‘sail’ is understood from l. 5 segls as the direct object, and that sundvarpaði is an indirect object; see further Note to l. 6.  — [6] sundvarpaði ‘for the sea-thrower [OAR]’: This hap. leg. appears to be an agent noun (nom. sundvǫrpuðr), and it is taken here as an oar-kenning similar to Anon (ÓT) 3/6 sveipr ǫldu ‘sweeper of the wave’ (so also Meissner 103). It is dat., and provides an object to sættuð ‘you deployed’ (see Note to l. 5). Other eds have taken it as an expression for ‘wind’ or ‘storm’ and construed it as indirect object of setja ‘set’, hence ‘you set [the sail] for the sea-thrower’; see ÍF 27, and also Jesch (2001a, 162-3), who suggests the translation ‘strait-disturber’. However, if a wind-kenning, it does not belong to a known pattern, and it takes the focus away from parts of the ship, which otherwise dominate the stanza. — [6] stundum ‘sometimes’: The adv. could be taken with either or both of the verbs in ll. 5-6: neyttuð ‘you made use of’ and sættuð ‘you deployed’ (as here). 

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  14. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 578.
  15. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 187-9.
  16. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur 21’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 613.
  17. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn, Lausavísa 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 445.
  18. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1085.
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